We are committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all of our Pupils and believe that modern technology in the form of mobile phones, when used appropriately offers young people and their parents/carers peace of mind, particularly when travelling to and from school. We are also clear that when phones are used inappropriately, they distract from the core school business of learning, and at worst can be used as a tool for bullying.
Rules for the Acceptable Use of a Mobile Phone in School by Pupils
Pupils are allowed to bring a mobile phone into school. If they choose to do so it is on the understanding that they agree with the following limitations on its use:
- Mobile phones must be switched off on entry to the school grounds. All mobile phones must be handed in during registration and will be stored in a padded box and kept by the school office. The mobile phone boxes will be returned to each class at the end of the school day.
- In personal circumstances, mobile phones may be allowed to be kept by the pupil in the classroom. Permission should be obtained from the Headteacher in the first instance.
- If asked to do so, content on the phone (e.g. messages, pictures, videos, sound files) will be shown to a member of staff.
The school will consider any of the following to be unacceptable use of the mobile phone and a serious breach of the school’s behaviour policy which will result in sanctions being taken:
- Photographing or filming in toilets, changing rooms and similar areas.
- Bullying, harassing or intimidating staff or students by the use of text or multimedia messaging, sending inappropriate messages or posts to social networking or blogging sites.
- Refusing to switch a phone off or hand over the phone at the request of a member of staff.
- Using the mobile phone outside school hours to intimidate or upset staff and pupils will be considered a breach of these guidelines in the same way as unacceptable use.
- Using the mobile phone to photograph or record altercations or fights.
Pupils and parents are notified that appropriate action will be taken against those who are in breach of the acceptable use guidelines following the school’s behaviour policy.
- Pupils and their parents should be very clear that the school is within its rights to confiscate the phone where the guidelines have been breached.
- If a phone (including SIM card) is confiscated school will make it clear for how long this will be and the procedure to be followed for its return.
- Pupils should be aware that the police will be informed if there is a serious misuse of the mobile phone where criminal activity is suspected.
- If a pupil commits an act which causes serious harassment, alarm or distress to another pupil or member of staff the ultimate sanction may be permanent exclusion.
- School will consider the impact on the victim of the act and parents will be involved.
If a mobile phone is confiscated then:
- The pupil will be informed that the phone can be collected at the end of the school day from the Headteacher for the first offence.
- Heads of Year should monitor repeat offences to see if there is any pattern in the perpetrator or the victim which needs further investigation.
- Following the second and third confiscations, the phone will only be returned to a parent/carer who will be required to visit the school by appointment to collect the phone. This may be at the end of the day or week.
- The confiscation will be recorded in the school behaviour log for monitoring purposes.
- School will ensure that confiscated equipment is stored in such a way that it is returned to the correct person.
- Photographing or filming staff or other pupils without their knowledge or permission.
- Failure to hand over a phone will be treated as defiance.
- Where a student persistently breaches the guidelines, following a clear warning, the Headteacher may impose an outright ban from bringing a mobile phone to school. This may be a fixed period or permanent ban.
- The Headteacher or a designated staff member will have the right to view files stored in confiscated equipment and will seek the cooperation of parents in deleting any files which are in clear breach of these guidelines unless these are required for evidence.
- Evidence of the offence will be preserved, preferably by confiscation of the device and keeping it secure or by taking photographs of the screen.
- School should consider whether an incident should be reported to the police. Advice can be sought from the Local Authority (via INTECH helpdesk on 01484 414714) and/or the police (general response number 0845 606 0606 or use the local Police Community Constable.
Support for the Victim
Where an incident has involved the victimisation, harassment, alarm or distress of another pupil or member of staff the school will provide support for the victim.
This should be discussed with the victim’s family or where the incident involves a member of staff, appropriate support should be obtained. This might be a designated member of staff or the victim’s union.
To support the rehabilitation of a victim the following support may be offered in consultation with the victim and their family or support person. The school may:
- Follow up with the victim and family and agree a suitable way forward to facilitate an effective closure for the victim to the incident.
- School will also ensure that the perpetrator is educated about the impact of their actions on the victim.
- School will ensure a fully documented case history of the incident is recorded and secured in the behaviour database.
- Senior staff should consider if an education programme should be implemented as part of Citizenship, Computing and class time.
- Where material has been posted online about a victim, school will provide support in getting the material removed either through discussion with the poster of the material or contact with the service provider.
This statement of guidelines will be subject to regular review and updating to ensure that the personal safety of pupils and school staff is protected and that the learning environment is not disturbed by current or emerging technology.